Concourt to hear mining rights case

By Drum Digital
03 September 2013

The Constitutional Court will hear an application on Tuesday for leave to appeal a decision about mining rights in Kuruman, in the Northern Cape.

The application is being brought by the mineral resources minister, her director general and deputy director general, the regional manager of the department in the province, and Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

Before the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act came into effect, Sishen Iron Ore Company and Arcelor Mittal South Africa (AMSA) both held undivided shares of a mining right in the properties on which Sishen's mine was located, and which were issued in terms of the Minerals Act of 1991.

The act entitled holders of mineral rights under previous legislation to convert their old order mining rights within five years of the act coming into operation. If they failed to do so the rights expired.

Sishen converted its shares, but AMSA did not.

ICT applied for a prospecting right in respect of AMSA's share and Sishen applied for a mining right in respect of AMSA's expired share.

The minister granted a prospecting right to ICT and declined Sishen's application for mining rights.

Sishen successfully applied to the High Court in Pretoria to have the decision reviewed.

The State applicants and ICT unsuccessfully appealed against the order in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The applicants are arguing in the Constitutional Court that the matter raised constitutional issues because it related to the interpretation of legislation.

-Sapa

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